“Kansas City Weight Loss” Series – KC Bariatric dietitian, Laura Hernandez, has identified key information about optimizing cortisol levels from an important article written by Elizabeth Millard titled, “The Cortisol Curve“. After Bariatric surgery, it is important to take care of your waistline. As part of our “Kansas City Weight Loss” series, we have come up with seven tips to keep Cortisol levels in check.
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #1 – Exercise Routine: Time Your Workouts
Intense exercise such as a spin class raises cortisol levels, which is great if you’re looking for an extra energy boost in the morning or mid-afternoon. But an evening or nighttime workout is not so beneficial if it’s prompting insomnia or anxiety. Recognize that a schedule shift could help you reset your cortisol. Observe how specific types of exercise make you feel, and whether they affect your sleep or energy levels.
Exercise and Stress Management Balance
Exercise: 30-45 minutes of both anaerobic (resistance training) and aerobic (jogging, cycling) every other day. Plan intense exercise routines ideally mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
Meditation/relaxation: 15-30 minutes daily. Ideally in the evening time.
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #2 – Stay Hydrated
The body is more likely to become dehydrated under stress. Feeling anxious raises heart rate and triggers faster, heavier breathing, both of which lead to fluid loss. Even if drinking plenty of water, you can still get dehydrated when stressed because we urinate more frequently. If you notice that you urinate within minutes of drinking, it can be a sign that you’re not getting the benefits of hydration.
Recommendation: Add some trace minerals or amino acids to your water. Vitamin Water Zero and Protein Water such as Protein 2O are good suggestions.
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #3 – Sleep!
Rest is key to restoring a healthy cortisol curve. As little as 2 hours of sleep change will cause changes in cortisol patterns in less than two weeks. Sleep is the indicator of whether your efforts to reset your cortisol patterns are working.
How? Cortisol and Melatonin (hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles) work together. When Cortisol drops, Melatonin takes over and makes you sleepy. When asleep, relatively low levels of Cortisol allow your cells to repair and heal. If Cortisol levels stay elevated, your body can’t make those repairs and you wake up feeling fatigued.
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #4 – Supplement Your Nutrition
Omega-3 Fatty Acid: It helps lower morning cortisol levels. Based on research, it inhibits the adrenal activation produced by mental stress through effects at the level of the central nervous system. Recommendation: Take 1-4 gm/day.
Vitamin C: Research has shown that it helps reduce Cortisol levels. Recommendation: Take 1,000 mg-3000 mg daily.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Nickname: “the anti-stress vitamin”. It helps our bodies control the secretion of cortisol and it helps keep our adrenal glands functioning as they should. It helps improve the ability to deal with and withstand stressful situations. Recommendation: 5 mg/day
Phosphatidylserine: Studies have shown that phosphatidylserine is able to cut elevated cortisol levels induced by mental and physical stress and helps manage stress-related disorders. Recommendation: Take 300-800mg/day.
Our specially formulated Journey Bariatric Supplements will also aid in the waistline fight while helping to ensure your optimal bariatric health!
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #5 – Cycle Your Carbs Efficiently
A low-carb diet can support weight loss, but small amounts eaten at the right time help manage cortisol levels. Carbs elevate blood sugar, pancreas produces more Insulin, and Insulin decreases cortisol output. To keep it simple: blood sugar goes up, cortisol gets pushed down.
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #6 – Relieve Stress with Adaptogens
Adaptogenic herbs can relieve stress and help restore cortisol levels to their natural curve. These herbs support the adrenal and pituitary systems, helping them operate more efficiently. With those systems functioning properly, cortisol is more likely to be released when it should be.
Rhodiola rosea: 100-200 mg/day, standardized extract.
Ginseng: 100-300 mg/day, standardized extract.
Ginkgo biloba: 100-200 mg/day, standardized extract.
Kansas City Weight Loss Tip #7 – Stress Management
The job of adrenal glands is to protect you when you feel endangered. They’ll pump out cortisol whenever you feel agitated and threatened. Learn to calm the mind and regain a sense of control. Find a practice that’s easy to do and makes you feel connected and centered. Relaxation practices are beneficial any time of day but they are especially helpful in the evenings to promote better sleep.
As Laura says, “Belly fat contains four times the cortisol receptors as fat elsewhere in the body. Manage your Cortisol levels and keep belly fat at bay.”